I was nine years old when Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone released. Everybody were raving about this book and all the magic it contained. I scoffed at the fact that people were reading a book that was about wizards and magic. It seemed all too trivial. But boy, was I wrong.
I started reading it first out of boredom. But as I read chapter after chapter I realized that all the fuss that surrounded this book was well worth it. Rowling continued to release the subsequent books and I pre-booked my copy every time for the measly 10% discount that Odyssey gave. I read the books in express time. I read them at dinner and at lunch tables. My eyes got redder and I’m sure my eyesight grew worse leading to the soda buddi glasses that were increasing in size. I loved Ronald Weasely’s wit. I wanted to drink Butterbeer and visit Hogsmeade. I wanted an owl. I wanted a wand. I wanted to see Rita Skeeter. I was in shock when Sirius Black died. I cried when Dumbledore fell from the tower. I basically lived a few years oblivious to everything else but Harry Potter.
As a child I read a lot. I did the usual ascending in reading children’s literature. The farthest I remember reading is Enid Blyton. I’ve read every Famous Five, every Secret Seven, Mallory Towers, St.Clare’s, Mr.Meddle, Amelia Jane, The Faraway Tree, etc, etc. But after that there was a void. There was nothing in between, connecting children’s literature to the those of teenagers. My mother deemed it quite scandalous for me to read the Sweet Valley series at that precocious age (but I did read it behind her back). Harry Potter was that missing link.
Harry Potter is more than just magic, wizards and wands. It’s a book that has more morals and character than most of the other books I’ve read. Harry Potter taught me to be brave, to choose good over bad. It taught me that it is okay to take the wrong path but it is important to come back to the right one. It taught me never to let down the people we love. It taught me never to misuse the power or authority that we’ve been given. Harry Potter taught me to stand up for what I believed in, that it doesn’t matter where you come from but it does matter who you grow up to become.
I’ve always liked books and authors that have an underlying moral. Enid Blyton taught me that it was okay to dream. Wuthering Heights taught me about passion. Jane Eyre instilled in me the concept of unyielding self-worth.
The story of J.K.Rowling is an example enough. The idea for Harry Potter came to her when she had nothing. Literally. It is quite obvious that she wrote this book from her heart. It was the only thing that could either make or break her life and that devotion is seen so clearly in the book.
There are critics who find Rowling entirely laughable. The Vatican banned the book because it promoted ‘magic’. There were rumors doing rounds that Dumbledore was gay! But Harry Potter is beyond all that. It is beyond magic. It is one woman’s dream and hows she achieved it. It is a way of getting children to read again. It is revolutionizing children’s literature. It is about failing tirelessly but experiencing success in the end. It is about the joy of taking the journey with Harry and enjoying every bit of it. It is about waiting for months for the book to be released. It is about that anticpation for something wonderful.
It is about adventure, the joy of reading and the happiness it brings.